In January, I’ll be teaching a new workshop for Odyssey Online: “Riveting Descriptions: Bringing Your Story to Life in the Reader’s Mind” … here’s the course information:
|Level:||Beginner to Intermediate|
|Class Times:||There will be three live class meetings.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Thursday, January 31, 2019
7:00 pm-8:30pm U.S. Eastern Time
|Application Deadline:||December 5, 2018|
To apply, click here.
For more information on Odyssey’s Online Classes, click here.
Description is critical in good, immersive fiction. It first and foremost enables the reader to richly imagine the world that a writer has created. But good description does more than provide the sensory and physical details crucial in setting, characterization, action, and world building. The ways in which characters see and describe their worlds deepen personality, establish point of view, convey motivation, ratchet up tension, and move the plot. Ultimately, the description is the thread that connects the who, what, when, where, and why in any narrative.This course will help you sharpen your description into a more powerful narrative tool by teaching you
Join award-winning author/editor Lucy A. Snyder for this online course on understanding and mastering description. We’ll start by looking at great examples of description from both classic fiction and recent science fiction, fantasy and horror … and we’ll contrast those examples with problematic descriptions. We will drill deeper into the role of word choice in description, and how to keep your readers engaged whether you’re writing for children, teens, or adults. We’ll examine how to employ poetic techniques in good prose description, and how to provide specific, vivid, evocative details. Students will also learn how to avoid common descriptive pitfalls such as “pushbutton” words, unconscious bias, and used furniture. In our final session, we’ll discuss effective techniques for using description to maintain tension and plot momentum and create unforgettable characters.
Before or after each session, students will work on exercises that will help them apply the lessons of each session to their own writing. They’ll emerge from this workshop able to determine whether a descriptive passage enriches or distracts from other narrative elements; more critically, they’ll be able to revise passages to remedy the problems they see. Students will leave this workshop with new narrative tools at their disposal to create the kinds of stories that keep readers engaged.
Students must be ready to hear about the weaknesses in their writing and to work to strengthen them. Students must also be ready to give feedback to their classmates that is both truthful and helpful.
Our goal as a class is to provide a supportive yet challenging, energizing environment that will help students improve their writing.
Each student will have a private meeting with Lucy.
The course is intended for writers of fantastic fiction, an umbrella term encompassing fantasy, science fiction, horror, magical realism, and anything in between. Yet description is important in all fiction writing, so fiction writers who focus on other genres could profit from this class and would be welcome. The course will cover description in middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction.
Since the class will define and explain the terms and techniques discussed, beginning writers should be able to understand the concepts and incorporate them into their writing. Yet the course will be most valuable for intermediate writers who already have some skill with description, style, characterization, and point of view.
The first assignment will have a due date of January 2, the day before our initial meeting.
Homework will be assigned on January 3 and January 17, with due dates, respectively, of January 9 and January 23. You will also be required to provide critiques of some of your classmates’ work, which will be due on January 16 and 30. Any student who misses a deadline may be expelled from the class and will receive no refund.
All assignments should be in standard manuscript format and should be submitted as MS Word files or rich text files.
You should reserve a minimum of 5 hours each week to complete homework.
Assignments will include reading and analyzing assigned texts, critiquing, performing exercises to practice techniques, writing new material, analyzing your previously written material, and revising previously written material. The instructor will return students’ homework with her feedback by the day before the next class session.
Students are expected to follow the policies about assignments and class materials in the Odyssey Online Student Handbook.
You are expected to attend all classes, except in cases of emergency. In such cases, you should notify the instructor. It is your responsibility to find out what happened in any classes you missed and to complete homework by the deadlines.
Classes will be recorded and made available to students for a limited time. On rare occasions, students’ computers do not allow them to access the recordings, so we cannot promise that this will work for you.
Any student who misses more than one class may be expelled from the course and will receive no refund.
It is your responsibility to find out what happened in any classes you missed and to complete homework by the deadlines.
Students are expected to follow the policies set out in the Odyssey Online Student Handbook.